MAYBE - KEVIN MCQUILLAN MANAGING, DIRECTOR, MATERIAL_UK
Any sport-related marketing campaign should bridge the perceived gap between the fans and players. Supporters want to see commitment, dedication and passion from their team.
These values should be prevalent in the RFU's engagement of its fans. The connection between players and fans can be effectively enhanced using various marketing tools and techniques, including digital and social platforms.
The tone of the RFU's engagement with fans must be carefully judged - this is a time for rebuilding trust and restoring belief.
Ultimately, marketing will take this only so far. Sporting success remains the most effective means of unifying fans and players.
NO - CHRIS LEWIS, MARKETING DIRECTOR, WELLS & YOUNG'S BREWING COMPANY
The marketing push unveiled by the RFU, for fancy websites and player accessibility, will help, at least a little, but really it's superficial. Core to the product proposition is the players and the way they behave, both on and off the field. Unfortunately, not all professional sports people were at the front of the queue when it comes to brains or even common sense.
So I put player discipline ahead of marketing to restore the game's reputation. But hell, let's be clear: start playing some decent flowing rugby and winning some games (like the Welsh team) and, as far as the public is concerned, the players can misbehave to their hearts' content.
NO - SAJ ARSHAD GROUP MARKETING DIRECTOR, VODAFONE
Rugby is a sport where reputation is earned on the field and supported and enhanced off it. It can be dented off the field, but, if the indiscretion is not serious, be salvaged (somewhat) if great performances are delivered.
The New Zealand team is a testament to this; far from saintly during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the players went on to win and that is what will be remembered. England, having failed at the first knockout stage, are instead remembered for dwarves, kisses and ferry jumps. If a team has no standards and can't string together performances to beat the best, no amount of marketing will make it shine more brightly in the fans' eyes.
NO - TIM RYAN, SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT,MARKETING, GLOBAL CATALOGUE, PRIORITIES, EMI
The reputation of English Rugby, like any brand, relies on the product - if that is no good, the best marketing in the world will not make up for its inadequacies.
If the England team starts winning and playing exciting rugby again, the fans will engage, the media will gush again and the brand will strengthen.
Marketing a poor product - a national team or anything else - will serve only to waste time and budget. Sort the product out first.
NO- TIM CROW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SYNERGY
As Leroy Stick aka @BPGlobalPR famously said, the best way to get the public to respect your brand is to have a respectable brand. We’ve moved into an era where to be credible, and thus effective, marketing must be driven by behaviour and reality, not image. So whilst I applaud the RFU marketing initiative, reputationally it will have little effect if the England team continue to under-perform on the field and misbehave off it, and if the RFU doesn’t follow through – and be seen to follow through - on the programme of reformed governance and cultural change it has signalled. Stuart Lancaster’s decision to move England’s RBS Six Nations training to Leeds and open it up to the public is a great start, but there’s a long way to go.
Follow the debate online Can marketing restore the standing of the England rugby union team?
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk